In 2013, contraventions of animal transport regulations were found in one in five commercial animal transports. More than half of the shortcomings concerned documentation required by the legislation. Both the condition of the animals in transit and of the transport vehicles improved from previous years.
The total number of commercial animal transports inspected was 384. Both the number of inspections and that of breaches increased a little compared to 2012. Like in previous years, more than half of the problems concerned shortcomings in the statutory documentation. Conversely, the condition of animals in transit has clearly improved from previous years. Similarly, the condition of animal transport vehicles has improved slightly.
Inadequate documentation most common problem
Most of the individual shortcomings were found in compliance with the requirements connected with transport documentation, driver’s certificates of competence and animal transport licenses. The second most common breaches concerned the separation and tethering of the livestock. The third most common breaches were in compliance with the additional requirements of long transports.
The number of breaches related to transport documentation and duration, space requirements for the animals, and loading and offloading, have not changed in the last 17 years, disregarding individual annual variations.
Inspecting veterinary surgeons carried out the majority of the inspections at the time of offloading the transports at abattoirs. In addition, provincial veterinary officers inspected transports on the road and at the departure point. Most of the inspections concerned pig, cattle and poultry transports. Additional inspections concerned horse and reindeer transports and a single sheep transport. A total of 34 transports lasting over eight hours were inspected. The average transport duration was a little under four hours.
Animal transports inspected yearly
Commercial animal transports have been systematically inspected in Finland for 17 years, from 1997. In the years 2000–2013, animal welfare officers inspected almost five thousand animal transports in total. During the last four years, the number of breaches has fallen by a quarter compared to the average of the ten previous years. At the time, problems were found on average in 23 per cent of the inspected transports.
The legislation on animal transports was revised at the start of 2007. The Council Regulation on the protection of animals during transport and related operations stipulates that the member state must monitor the compliance with the animal welfare requirements set for animal transports by inspecting a sufficient number of transports each year. Finnish Food Authority collates an annual summary of inspection results and reports them to the European Commission.